Co-parenting sucks. By that, I mean, it’s another opportunity for growth I haven’t welcomed and has therefore bitten me in the caboose more than once.
Mike and I enjoy being together. We like each other, even love each other, respect each other, are in it to win it, for the long haul, all that. We agree about the big stuff, the values stuff, the approach stuff, the goals. Generally. So I feel like co-parenting shouldn’t be excruciating. But a lot of the time it is.
We do ok when it’s the three of us and it’s playtime. It’s when there’s a teaching moment, or teeth brushing moment, when it’s time to go home, to get dressed, to apologize, to give back the truck, to wash hands or clean up that frustration, defensiveness, guilt, and resentment arise.
We don’t yell and we don’t throw stuff. We’re more shrunk-out than that. We allow each other do-overs and spend a lot of time with I-statements and such. We process. We breathe. We take space. We give appreciations for each other’s contributions. We stay in the conversation. We say, “I love you.”
Sometimes I’d like to shake him and shout, “How is it possible you’ve won awards for performing rescues under gunfire yet can’t get our five-year-old to turn off the T.V?” Or, “How can you be a world expert on performance improvement in complex medical systems but can’t get bedtime brushing, flossing, toilet time, and stories done in less than two hours?” I don’t say those things, but Mike reads my mind. He’s no dope.
And bless his heart, he doesn’t tell me anything like, “For someone who spends so much time cultivating inner peace you sure are a bossy piece of work.” Or, “Save it for the courtroom, Counselor. My son and I are trying to have a nice time here.” Or simply, “Lay off, my Sugar Magnolia.” As I said, he’s no dope.
No, generally we say nice things to each other or nothing at all, while quietly feeling disappointed, downtrodden, angry, powerless and other crappy things. On the whole, I think we’re a pretty awesome team. There’s a lot of goodwill. That said, there’s room for improvement, room for growth, room for more fun with this co-parenting gig. I’m ready for it and I’m grateful my honey probably is too.